This video is about paying attention in the process of learning, and trusting the process.
The Art of Learning: Attention without Judgement.
If I am judging everything, I am judging from today’s level of mastery… and blocking my progress. It is so difficult to remember that I don’t see more than what I am capable of seeing.
Shoshin is a chinese word that means “open mind” – a mind that is open to possibility rather than constantly analysing everything that is presented to me (through the prism of my current level of expertise).
There are many ways, many frameworks, many tips. Here I share one simple, easy to implement change that you can begin to use today.
Sometimes the best way to allow your team mates to ask for help is for you to ask for help first (and especially when you don’t necessarily believe that you need help). Allow others to have an impact on you, they will then open to allow you to have an impact on them.
This video is about learning the humility as a leader to ask for help, not when you need it, but at times where you don’t feel you need it – at times where you are not struggling, at the times where you would tend to just get on with it and solve it yourself.
I was on the road for 8 hours over last 2 days, lots of podcasts.
I listened to Tim Ferriss speaking to Jason Fried. Jason seems an interesting character – professes to have no goals as he learnt at a young age that setting and aiming at goals only served to detract from his joy of life. I don’t think his approach works for everyone, but I do think I have something to learn from his attitude of learning to enjoy and contribute rather than focus on task completion.
One sentence really hit me as he said it:
“In schools, you don’t learn to iterate. You complete the task, you hand it in, and you are done. In life, iteration is everything.” Jason Fried
When I heard this I repeated “iteration is everything” over and over for a few miles… because I completely agree. Why am I good at giving a speech? Iteration. I get to speak hundreds of times every year. Writing? this blog. I write hundreds of posts, edit them, improve them, republish them… each iteration is a slight improvement.
There is a story from Toyota in the 1980s. Globally they decided to implement an employee suggestion scheme, but they left it up to each national leadership team to decide how to implement the scheme.
In the US, the leadership decided to pay 2% of the value of the change once implemented. Imagine you are working on the factory floor of a Toyota plant in US. What type of ideas are you looking for? You will get 2% of the value of the change… big ideas, huge ideas!
In the US they received an average of 1.5 ideas per employee of which less than 10% were actually implemented.
In Japan, the leadership decided to pay $50 for every idea. Imagine you are there on the floor of the Japanese factories. What type of ideas are you looking for? Small ideas, little improvements, anything that slightly improves the efficiency or quality of life of the factory.
In Japan, they received an average of 55 ideas per employee, of which around 70% were implemented. Within 2 years the Japanese operations were so much more efficient that they took the new Japanese operations and re-implemented them around the world.
Iteration is Everything
All excellence is from iteration. World class musicians play a piece hundreds of times with small improvements (or just changes) with each iteration. Sports is repetitive. My speaking is repetitive.
What piece of old writing could you dust off and improve 1% and produce a new iteration? What skill could you focus 5 minutes each day on iteration? What animal have you always wanted to be able to draw… draw a bad version today and iterate every day for the next month…
This video is from Bilbao in front of the Guggenheim Museum. I was in Bilbao for the launch of Vistage in the region.
In my courses I often have participants who hate following standard processes. Sometimes this is a good thing. When you decide to break the rules, you better do your homework and preparation so that what you deliver is excellent. Too often, “creative” people break the rules of structure… but don’t do the necessary work to be excellent in delivery.
This video is from up in the French Pyrenees. It is about learning to ski.
It takes a few days of hard knocks to get to a level where you can even basically enjoy it.
The skills that turn out to be passions in your life, they will take time to develop. Many people give up after 1 day of frustration – they give up on skiing, they give up on speaking in public, they give up on learning a new language.
The easy stuff gets boring quickly. The harder skills can give a lifetime of enjoyment… if you can get through the initial pain.
I'd love you to leave a comment and tell me the answer to this question: Who is the most enthusiastic person that you know?
Last night, I asked a retired inspector of schools: “What makes a great school?”
His answer… “Music.”
He said that infallibly he would find a thriving musical scene in every great school that he had visited.
When you are surrounded by enthusiastic people, you are willing to take risks and learn; brave tries are celebrated. When you are surrounded by cynics and apathetic people you don’t take risks and any effort at bravery is laughed at and mocked.
On Friday I attended the YouTube Creators day in Barcelona. It struck me just how powerful a room full of enthusiastic people can be. There was no cynicism and no apathy. All efforts at Learning, trying and courage to take risks were celebrated.
This is a story about a lost tribe in Papua New Guinea.
They were brought to the city of Singapore and shown skyscrapers, airports, factories, supermarkets, homes and life. When they were on their way back to their mountain village, they were asked: “What is the most incredible thing you have seen during your days in Singapore?”.
I was in Washington DC the last 6 days teaching on the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation Leadership Academy 2016. We had 28 leaders from all around the world – China, Nepal, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Canada, Germany, Australia, USA, UK. The White House was being prepared for the inauguration of the next US President.
Christophe Magnussen is an inspiring entrepreneur from Germany. We made a short video up on the roof of our hotel, overlooking the winter evening sky of Washington DC.
The mission of the IESE Business School, where I teach about 1,000 EMBA, MBA and Senior Management participants each year, is to “develop leaders who aspire to have a deep, lasting and positive impact on people, firms and society” and I have spent a lot of the last 13 years attempting to find a way to achieve this mission.
A leadership decision will always look wrong from somebody’s perspective. Leadership decisions are always difficult because they play off between values. We learn from Homer’s great hero Odysseus is that a leadership decision is always a decision between two bad outcomes. If one path led to a good outcome, then the decision is an excel spreadsheet decision… not a leadership decision. Leadership will always be hard because you can never be right from all perspectives.
What stops someone developing as a leader? What is the single greatest obstacle we face in developing Leaders?
We are born aware of how we view others, but unaware of how others view us.
Some learn quickly to see how others see them.
Some never learn.
Some face an insurmountable challenge (psychologists call this a “boundary experience”) and realise that it is they themselves that must change. It is they themselves that act in ways that make their goals unachievable. It is only a major failure in their life that forces them to reflect and see that they are responsible for the behaviours that are causing failure.
How do those institutions that develop leaders open human beings up to the nature of their self-delusion? How do I as a teacher help someone realise that they don’t know everything?
I was reading “Return on Character”, a book by Fred Kiel this week – it is a 10 year study into the financial impact of having a leader who behaves with 4 “leadership character qualities”. He worked with many CEOs. He surveyed the CEOs, and he surveyed the direct reports of CEOs.
Great CEOs think they behave well 80% of the time, and their direct reports say 80%.
Poor CEOs think they behave well 80% of the time, and their direct reports say 50%.
Every one of his CEOs think they show these 4 categories of behaviour over 80% of the time…
Integrity – clear sense of right & wrong; tells the truth; seeks the truth
Responsibility – self control; fixes own mistakes
Forgiveness – cooperation; conflict resolution
Compassion – empathy; builds attachments; shows and receives affection
And, by the way, the answer was yes, leadership character matters to direct reports. In a big way.
The Challenge of Self-Delusion
An individual is delusional about their qualities as a leader.
This is the teaching challenge – students do not believe that they have poor behaviours around integrity, responsibility, forgiveness and compassion.
How do you get people to realise that they are not as good as they think they are? (how to get them to actually listen to direct reports and to team mates feedback?) Now… that is our teaching challenge.
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